CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) _ A panel probing apartheid crimes granted amnesty Tuesday to four ANC activists who killed a black policeman they believed was collaborating with white rule.

Joseph Elias Makhura, Frans Ting Ting Masango, Obed Masina and Neo Potsane _ all members of the African National Congress' armed wing _ shot Brig. Andrew Molope, a policeman in the now defunct black homeland of Bophuthatswana, at a house near Pretoria in 1986.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission said the applicants had fulfilled the two main conditions for amnesty: telling the truth and proving a political motive.

In their applications, the four men testified to being members of an ANC assassination squad instructed to eliminate opponents of the struggle to end white rule.

``The applicants ... believed that the elimination of Brig. Molope would protect the opponents of the then-Bophuthatswana government from further suffering,'' the commission said.

Molope's family had opposed the amnesty, but will now be entitled to compensation as victims of an apartheid crime.

Homelands like Bophuthatswana were set up under apartheid as a dumping ground for blacks, while the minority white population kept most of South Africa's land. Although the homelands were nominally independent, few other countries recognized the often corrupt homeland governments and many blacks saw their officials as collaborating with white rule.

The Truth Commission was established a year after South Africa's all-race elections in 1994 ended apartheid. Its aim is to uncover the facts about apartheid-era atrocities.